Eighteen Baptist churches in the Bahamas have withdrawn their membership from the Full Gospel Fellowship as a result of Bishop Neil Ellis’ resignation from the international religious body.
Arnold Josey, Commonwealth Mission Baptist Church pastor, told The Tribune yesterday that although Bishop Ellis’ decision came as a complete surprise, there was no question about the remaining 17 churches continuing their Full Gospel affiliation.
They all communicated that position in support of Bishop Ellis shortly after he stepped down on Monday.
Bishop Josey said Bishop Ellis conceded to Bishop Joseph Walker III of Tennessee because contention was brewing among the 20 Bishops’ Council members during the elections. That body would have been responsible for electing a new presiding bishop for the religious group.
Bishop Josey, a full Gospel Bahamas district Bishop until Bishop Ellis’ resignation, declined further comment on the specifics. However, sources have suggested to The Tribune that on occasion it nearly came to a scuffle between certain pastors over who should assume the post.
“All of the Full Gospel Churches in the Bahamas,” Bishop Josey said, “communicated resignation because there was no need to continue on that vein once Bishop Ellis said he was stepping down.”
“During the election, there was a certain kind of atmosphere that manifested itself, one that Bishop Ellis didn’t like and would not support. So rather than having that sort of thing continue, Bishop preferred to step back and let Walker have the post.”
“In addition Bishop Ellis was never in support of the elections. He felt that there should have just been a natural progression to the post.”
Bishop Ellis served the Full Gospel Fellowship for 20 years and has been praised by supporters for bringing large numbers of delegates to conferences. He also worked tirelessly to advance the agenda of the organization.
Over the past three days Bishop Ellis’ secretary told The Tribune that he would neither comment on the situation nor agree to be interviewed.
The Tribune was also unsuccessful in getting a comment from the Full Gospel Fellowship’s international officials.